Improving learner outcomes

Using technology to deliver training

Siobhan Duvigneau

Author Siobhan Duvigneau

Date 26th Mar 2020


Did you know OLT has a Video Chat facility on our site? We know it’s more important than ever to stay connected, and while you can’t roll out face to face training you can use our Video Chat facility to convene online training sessions for up to 15 people.

The recommended browser for using this facility is Chrome and Firefox. If you are looking for other services, Zoom and GotoWebinar are also excellent for facilitating meetings and training sessions too! Facilitating synchronous discussions or workshops online can seem a daunting task especially when you’re managing ‘group talk’ and fielding questions!

Like all things, there is an ‘art to facilitating conversations online’ so we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 tips to help you deliver training online!

  1. Plan, plan, and plan again! Having a solid instruction plan is absolutely crucial. Break up ‘teacher talk’ with opportunities to contribute ideas, react to your inputs and clarify understanding. A general rule of thumb is that 7-15 minute inputs should be broken up with a 2 minute ‘breather’ for group discussion or inputs.
  2. Enlist some help! If possible, arrange for someone to help you manage group participation. This individual can keep an eye on chat, field questions and most importantly deal with technical issues while you are running the training.
  3. Set expectations upfront! Always start your training with guidance on how to participate in the discussion. Introduce your training plan and the learning environment. Show individuals how to access the chat feature (if there is one). Ask individuals to speak clearly, and one at a time. Invite participants to field their questions through the chat panel or by raising their hand. If emoticons are available, ask individuals to use these symbols to signal that they want to make a contribution or field a question. Here are some ideas for managing contributions using emoticons:

    * Use the thumbs up symbol to signal agreements
    * A waving hand, or waving emoticon can be used to indicate a question
    * The thumbs down symbol could signal disagreement
    * In the absence of emoticons, be creative! Use letters e.g. Y (Yes), N (No), ? (Question) or hand signals too!   

    Always manage participation by taking a note of the individuals who have raised their hand and stating clearly what the running order for contributions will be. This will help individuals manage their own expectations and reduce the number of concurrent contributions! If individuals are enthusiastic, thank them for their contribution and remind them of the rules of participation. Assure them they will be able to speak next!
  4. Always programme in ‘open talk’ sessions! Research shows individuals who contribute to a learning event in the first 5 minutes are more likely to contribute or participate in discussions later on. So, invite people to talk! Even if it’s just to introduce themselves to the group at the beginning of the training event. Keep momentum going by asking questions as you walk through your presentation. But, remember to ask individuals to field their questions through chat to minimise disruptions!

  5.  Give several options for making contributions! Some individuals don’t feel comfortable in digital learning spaces so always provide different options for making contributions I’ve already mentioned Chat but with a little planning you can use polls and multiple-choice questions to gather information/feedback.






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